Too Right Boy by M.O. Chamberlain. Pub. SHIHvillage publications. raewyn@247PR.co.nz. 2016
A self published novel about a road trip by grandfather Harry aged 80’s and his grandson Brad aged 12 years. A road trip that is life changing for both grandfather and grandson.
Harry is a retired journalist with plenty of life experience, a risk taker and a man who deeply loved his deceased wife. He misses her and still talks to her but he kept a secret from her and the road trip is going to out this secret and others.
Brad has a bit of baggage too. His mother is over protective and considers Harry to be irresponsible and an earlier day trip on horseback just strengthened her beliefs.
Harry decides on a road trip in a camper van and Brad is forbidden to go, but he stows away when granddad leaves and circumstances at home ensure that Brad remains with his granddad for the trip at least.
On the trip many subjects are discussed between the two from sex to God and drugs. Brad is a surfer and this stimulates his writing as Harry encourages him to write the events of each day down. There is also a Harley Davidson and a violent confrontation to surprise readers. Rule nothing out on this trip.Things get testy on the road as Harry relives his life and Brad soaks up the experience.
Well told in journalistic style with plenty to interest boy readers in a sort of Barry Crump way. It is positive in spite of the family demons that need to be worked through. I found it very easy to relate to Harry.
When I read a timeslip novel the mechanism by which the characters travel in time is always an interesting point for me and needs to be convincing. Fortunately in this novel it is. It involves a combination of touch and memory but you will have to read the novel to find out how.
When Ben’s Poppa comes to stay he has to sleep in the caravan and it bugs him. Then at school he finds himself being replaced as best friend to Zac by a trouble making bully named Connor.
Ben tries to stay out of trouble but Connor ropes him in. In a chance happening with his Poppa Ben finds himself in the year 1935, a time when his grandfather was still at school and the city of Marshton was just a little settlement called Marshville.
After a series of strange happenings in 1935 Ben returns to the present and finds that Connor seems to know more than he should. Could he have the key to time travel too? And what will happen if events in the past are changed and these changes could affect the future. The grandfather proxy could apply here. Read it and find out for yourself.
Well told by Adele Broadbent who also compares life and language of the past with that of today. Dialogue between the characters is a strong feature of the novel.
Good read-a-loud for years 5/6 to 7/8